Q & A w/Filmmaker Jay Bulger of BEWARE OF MR. BAKER
Jay Bulger attended Fordham University where he boxed in several New York Golden Glove boxing tournaments. Photographs of his fighting launched him onto the cover of Vogue and then modeling for brands such as Armani, Calvin Klein, Dolce & Gabbana, Kenneth Cole, Hermés, etc.
After a 2-year bout with cancer, Jay dedicated himself to writing and directing and has since published feature articles for Rolling Stone, New York Magazine, Harpers Bazaar, and many other publications. He has directed music videos and commercials for bands such as The Hold Steady, Nightmare of You, The Washington Social Club, Permanent Me, and Playradioplay; for labels including Island, Def Jam, Warner Brothers, East West, Vagrant, and French Kiss; and brands such as Pepsi and Disney.
For Jay’s Rolling Stone Magazine article “In Search of Ginger Baker,” he spent three months living with the rock legend in South Africa where Ginger has spent the previous decade living in seclusion. The article and the numerous hours of interviews Jay captured on film became the premise for BEWARE OF MR. BAKER, and in the spring of 2010, Jay returned to South Africa with a small film crew to finish making the film.
What inspired this film? How did you find your subjects?
I saw an old documentary by Tony Palmer where Ginger Baker drove a Range Rover to Nigeria. I thought it was amazing and assumed Ginger was dead. A few months later I got a Google alert stating that Ginger was offering to drop trou to prove to a woman suing him that she had never seen his penis. I thought “man, not only is this guy alive, he’s still a friggin’ madman!” So I called everyone I could think of and eventually found Ginger in South Africa, got him on the phone by telling him I was a journalist for Rolling Stone (I was not) and then I just went there. I ended up living with Ginger for 4 months in his fortified compound with his 4th wife and his 39 polo ponies. I got my story, sold it to Rolling Stone. After the article was published I realized I needed to back with a camera – because, after all, what is Ginger Baker without the music?
What were some of the biggest challenges/surprises?
Ginger was the biggest challenge and the biggest surprise.
What was your VERY FIRST film?
This is my first film.
What is your proudest professional moment?
Being published in Rolling Stone.
What other projects are in the pipeline?
I’m working on a bunch of projects including a documentary about Bill Laswell and one about John Lurie. I’m also writing a book and developing various other narrative features
Why did you become a filmmaker?
To introduce the world to the greatest drummer of all time – Ginger Baker.
What are some of your creative influences?
Well, some of my film inspirations in making BEWARE OF MR. BAKER were MY BEST FIEND, TYSON, THE FILTH AND THE FURY, RICHARD III and BATMAN
Did you go to film school?
What do you shoot on?
What has been the most unexpected thing to happen since taking the film on the festival circuit?
People laughing as much as me. Wasn’t sure if I have the same sense of humor.
2012 marks our tenth edition of the Festival. Why did you want to screen your film at Silverdocs?
I grew up within walking distance. It was the only film festival I knew.
How old are you in your head?
Young enough to have dreams and continue to believe they are possible without having to get a real job.